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An underestimated role of precipitation frequency in regulating summer soil moisture

Wu, Chaoyang; Chen, Jing M.; Pumpanen, Jukka; Cescatti, Alessandro; Marcolla, Barbara; Blanken, Peter D.; Ardö, Jonas LU ; Tang, Yanhong; Magliulo, Vincenzo and Georgiadis, Teodoro, et al. (2012) In Environmental Research Letters 7(2). p.1-9
Abstract
Soil moisture induced droughts are expected to become more frequent under future global climate change. Precipitation has been previously assumed to be mainly responsible for variability in summer soil moisture. However, little is known about the impacts of precipitation frequency on summer soil moisture, either interannually or spatially. To better understand the temporal and spatial drivers of summer drought, 415 site yr measurements observed at 75 flux sites world wide were used to analyze the temporal and spatial relationships between summer soil water content (SWC) and the precipitation frequencies at various temporal scales, i.e., from half-hourly, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h measurements. Summer precipitation was found to be an indicator of... (More)
Soil moisture induced droughts are expected to become more frequent under future global climate change. Precipitation has been previously assumed to be mainly responsible for variability in summer soil moisture. However, little is known about the impacts of precipitation frequency on summer soil moisture, either interannually or spatially. To better understand the temporal and spatial drivers of summer drought, 415 site yr measurements observed at 75 flux sites world wide were used to analyze the temporal and spatial relationships between summer soil water content (SWC) and the precipitation frequencies at various temporal scales, i.e., from half-hourly, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h measurements. Summer precipitation was found to be an indicator of interannual SWC variability with r of 0.49 (p < 0.001) for the overall dataset. However, interannual variability in summer SWC was also significantly correlated with the five precipitation frequencies and the sub-daily precipitation frequencies seemed to explain the interannual SWC variability better than the total of precipitation. Spatially, all these precipitation frequencies were better indicators of summer SWC than precipitation totals, but these better performances were only observed in non-forest ecosystems. Our results demonstrate that precipitation frequency may play an important role in regulating both interannual and spatial variations of summer SWC, which has probably been overlooked or underestimated. However, the spatial interpretation should carefully consider other factors, such as the plant functional types and soil characteristics of diverse ecoregions. (Less)
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publication status
published
subject
keywords
summer drought, precipitation frequency, climate change, plant, functional types
in
Environmental Research Letters
volume
7
issue
2
pages
1 - 9
publisher
IOP Publishing
external identifiers
  • wos:000307590300014
  • scopus:84860850412
ISSN
1748-9326
DOI
10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024011
project
BECC
language
English
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yes
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b5f29717-6e55-49ae-ad4a-dcad3439349c (old id 3147302)
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http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/2/024011
date added to LUP
2012-11-16 08:53:00
date last changed
2017-09-17 06:51:22
@article{b5f29717-6e55-49ae-ad4a-dcad3439349c,
  abstract     = {Soil moisture induced droughts are expected to become more frequent under future global climate change. Precipitation has been previously assumed to be mainly responsible for variability in summer soil moisture. However, little is known about the impacts of precipitation frequency on summer soil moisture, either interannually or spatially. To better understand the temporal and spatial drivers of summer drought, 415 site yr measurements observed at 75 flux sites world wide were used to analyze the temporal and spatial relationships between summer soil water content (SWC) and the precipitation frequencies at various temporal scales, i.e., from half-hourly, 3, 6, 12 and 24 h measurements. Summer precipitation was found to be an indicator of interannual SWC variability with r of 0.49 (p &lt; 0.001) for the overall dataset. However, interannual variability in summer SWC was also significantly correlated with the five precipitation frequencies and the sub-daily precipitation frequencies seemed to explain the interannual SWC variability better than the total of precipitation. Spatially, all these precipitation frequencies were better indicators of summer SWC than precipitation totals, but these better performances were only observed in non-forest ecosystems. Our results demonstrate that precipitation frequency may play an important role in regulating both interannual and spatial variations of summer SWC, which has probably been overlooked or underestimated. However, the spatial interpretation should carefully consider other factors, such as the plant functional types and soil characteristics of diverse ecoregions.},
  author       = {Wu, Chaoyang and Chen, Jing M. and Pumpanen, Jukka and Cescatti, Alessandro and Marcolla, Barbara and Blanken, Peter D. and Ardö, Jonas and Tang, Yanhong and Magliulo, Vincenzo and Georgiadis, Teodoro and Soegaard, Henrik and Cook, David R. and Harding, Richard J.},
  issn         = {1748-9326},
  keyword      = {summer drought,precipitation frequency,climate change,plant,functional types},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {1--9},
  publisher    = {IOP Publishing},
  series       = {Environmental Research Letters},
  title        = {An underestimated role of precipitation frequency in regulating summer soil moisture},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024011},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}